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IMAGE OBFUSCATION: Are Americans too ‘sensitive’? Comment on this post ↓
June 9th, 2013 by Warren Swil

U.S. media are altering images –

or not even publishing them –

to ‘protect’ viewers

The web page of The New York Daily News, which altered image shot during the Boston Marathon massacre, covering up a bloody leg. Four thumbs down! © SGE Inc.

WE AMERICANS are too squeamish for our own good.
Case in point: the admissions by major media that they deliberately altered gruesome images of the tragic events in Boston in April.
Christine Haughney reported in The New York Times on April 17 that the Times’ competitor, the New York Daily News, “…covered up a bloody wound on a victim’s leg in the photograph it ran on its front page on Tuesday.” Read it here
The magic of Photoshop!
Why do editors seemingly everywhere believe their readers don’t have the stomach for reality? After all, there is blood and gore aplenty in prime time television. So fictional images of the results of violence are acceptable, but images of the damage caused by real trauma aren’t?

BBC News web site. The channel has by far the best video of any, much better than CNN or any of the broadcast networks. Perhaps this is because they have the largest network of correspondents in the world. © SGE Inc.

I DON’T BUY IT.
Remember the horrendous attack on U.S. Marines in Falljuah, Iraq, on March 31, 2004?
Jeffery Gettleman reported for The New York Times:
“Four Americans working for a security company were ambushed and killed Wednesday, and an enraged mob then jubilantly dragged the burned bodies through the streets of downtown Falluja, hanging at least two corpses from a bridge over the Euphrates River.” Read it here
A graphic image of the bodies dangling from the structure accompanied the story on Page One. (It’s not with this web version.)
While some readers were offended (the Times published a few critical letters), the decision of Executive Editor Bill Keller was unquestionably the right one.
War is horrendous. There is no worse demonstration of man’s inhumanity to man.
But it is conducted in our name. We, the people, must be informed of the real consequences of war. How can we possibly make informed judgments about the actions of our government if their consequences are treated in the media like some video game?
Remember “shock and awe?”
The attack on Iraq was presented by U.S. television just as if it were “Grand Theft Auto.”
Buildings demolished by long-range missiles?
Ka-boom. Watch the sparks fly.
Thousands dead and wounded in the streets of Baghdad?
Never mind.
Just hit the re-set button and they’ll all arise from the dead.

WHY CAN’T U.S. MEDIA – television in particular – follow the example of their European competitors? The video on BBC is always superior, and often displays gruesome images of carnage. Do the Brits have stronger stomachs than we do?
No. The Beeb is simply unafraid to provide a needed public service.
See what the images of war REALLY should look like. Why wasn’t this on the Page ONE?
Viewers and readers need to see the horrific consequences of violence, at home and abroad. It is regrettable so many U.S. outlets have failed the public by being too timid – or scared of the blowback – to do so.

 



2 Responses  
  • Martin Trailer writes:
    June 9th, 2013

    This is a slippery slope, but I agree that if the images or video is shown as news, it should not be altered for the faint of heart.

    Viewers should be warned and they can choose to look or not. Personal responsibility.

  • Mark Orwoll writes:
    June 10th, 2013

    Heck, the U.S. military gets uptight when photojournalists attempt to take pix of CASKETS! Imagine if they tried to take pictures of real maimed and killed human beings to capture the realities of war. Plus, the auto dealerships and chain stores that advertise in your newspaper would start pulling their ads. (Bad for business.) The reason these kinds of images don’t appear in our media is because of journalistic cowardice and craven kowtowing to advertisers. Thank that’ll change any time soon?


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